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Private hospitals bleeding CGHS dry

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Private and corporate hospitals in the city have charged as much as Rs 12 crore in excess from the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) in the past 17 months by submitting inflated bills, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) stated in its recent report.

The hospitals had claimed Rs 43 crore as against the actual expenditure of Rs 31 crore incurred by them. Implemented by the Union health ministry, CGHS provides health care facilities for central government employees, pensioners and their dependents.

An official of CGHS, Hyderabad division, informed TOI that the CVC's report had stated that 14 hospitals claimed excess amount for providing treatment to patients. In all, 34 hospitals are empanelled for CGHS patients in Hyderabad.

Hospitals enter into an agreement with the CGHS, which has a special tariff for treatment including the charges of various wards, depending upon the eligibility of the card holder. Scrutiny of the bills revealed that the provision of agreement was not adhered to by the hospitals. For instance, room charges for private ward is Rs 750 per day for a BHEL employee and Rs 400 for BSNL employee, but these hospitals billed an amount of Rs 1500 even for these CGHS patients. It was also found that the hospitals did not submit monthly and annual reports to the health ministry on the number of CGHS patients who utilised the facility as per the agreement. Hospitals also violated agreement by not giving two per cent discount on payments made within seven days from the date of submission of bill and five per cent on every cash payment made immediately.

Sources said the CVC conducted the inquiry following a complaint made by a patient, who had undergone surgery in a corporate hospital last year. He had complained to the ministry of health and family welfare about the alleged irregularities in reimbursement of medical bills of the empanelled hospitals.

The official said that based on the CVC report, notices were sent to the hospitals last month seeking their explanation. Middle-level hospitals replied to the notices which were forwarded to Union health ministry but the bigger corporate hospitals are yet to submit their replies. As per rules, the Union health ministry is empowered to cancel the empanellment if the charges are proved, official sources said. Computerisation of processing of bills and claims to avoid such irregularities in future is also being contemplated, sources added.
Source: Times of India

Central govt to net Rs1,400 crore as tax from pay arrears to staff

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The government will mop up Rs 1,400 crore (Rs 14 billion) this fiscal by taxing the second instalment of arrears due to central government employees, who were awarded increased salaries by the Sixth Pay Commission.

The first instalment of arrears (representing 40 per cent of the increased pay) was disbursed during financial year 2008-09.

The employees will also have to pay two per cent education cess on the total amount of the arrears.

"The total arrears for this fiscal is Rs 18,000 crore (Rs 180 billion). The arrears that would fall in the tax net would be about Rs 9,000 crore (Rs 90 billion). Barring the grade-IV employees, and according to calculations, around 15 per cent of this amount-- about Rs 1,400 crore (plus education cess) would go into government's coffers during this fiscal as tax," a senior finance ministry official said.

"The Central and State government and various organisations under them are advised to compute the correct tax liability of every employee on second instalment of arrears drawn by him and immediately recover the full tax liability along with education cess thereon at the rates in force," a recent CBDT circular asked all government employers.

Distribution of the remaining 60 per cent of arrears has already begun. The I-T department has received the TDS on arrears from various government departments, while the rest would be received soon, the official said.

"The deduction of tax at source on such arrears payment should not be deferred in any circumstance. They (employers) should further ensure that the tax so recovered is paid to the account of Central government account immediately as per the Income Tax Rules, 1962," the CBDT circular said.

The total arrears, accumulated after the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, were Rs 12,000 crore (Rs 120 billion) during 2008-09 fiscal, the official said.

The government has also said that employers "should ensure that the PAN details of the deductees (recipient of arrears) are correctly quoted in the relevant quarterly e-TDS returns filed by them so that government servants get proper credit of their tax deducted in their respective income tax returns."

Those who (employers) fail to comply with the provisions of Section 192 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 would be liable to pay interest under section 201 of Income Tax Act along with other penal consequences.

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